About the Authors

Willa Finley grew up riding horses and herding cows in the native pastures around her home in Floydada, Texas, where buffalo grass, broomweed, and milkweed were part of the natural flora. Her botanical heritage was passed down through her maternal grandmother and her mother, both of whom had extensive flower and vegetable gardens. Willa took that to another level with a M.S. in Plant Systematics at Texas Tech University. With a Ph.D. in Plant Genetics from University of Nebraska, she has worked in agriculture research and in agribusiness in the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Africa, and for many years was senior researcher in agricultural economics for LMC International in Oxford, UK. She is now involved in agricultural development projects in Africa, helping poor African women farmers to improve their economic condition. Her photography has received international recognition. She is available to give talks about wildflowers as well as about her work in Africa.

LaShara Nieland, a native of Big Spring, Texas, has always been fascinated by the natural world, as well as by history. Her father, Charlie Shanks, passed along his interest in and respect for Native Americans to LaShara during many trips to New Mexico throughout her childhood. During her years at Abilene Christian University, where she earned her Bachelor's and Master's Degrees, she began studying how ancient people used wild plants for food and medicine, an interest that continues today. She incorporated this research into her lessons as she taught biology in Abilene and in Odessa, Texas, for twenty-seven years. Now retired, she still lives in Odessa with her husband, Andy, and continues to photograph wildflowers, research their uses, and give talks to various groups.

The authors are available for presentations and book signings. You may contact them at willa.finley@lonestarwildflowers.net or nielandal@gmail.com.